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Help wanted: 2010 census takers for the Gulf Coast

BILOXI, Miss. _ The U.S. Census Bureau plans to hire thousands of people in South Mississippi in the next 18 months to help prepare for and distribute the 2010 census, a move that could pump some money into the local economy, at least temporarily.

The bureau hopes to hire 75,000 people in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana and the jobs will last from six to 18 months, depending on the type of job, said Traycee Scott-Williams, a partnership specialist with the Census Bureau.

The government group is taking applications for 200 to 300 workers in 11 South Mississippi counties: Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone, George, Greene, Perry, Forrest, Lamar and Marion.

"Right now we’re hiring people to staff the offices we’re opening, as well as people to canvas addresses," said Kat Smith, a media specialist in the Dallas regional office of the bureau, adding the average rate of pay for this area will be $14.50 an hour.

"That will vary according to the position," Smith said, "but people can work as much or as little as they like.

"We’re encouraging college students to apply, as well as anyone who doesn’t have a job or anyone who wants to make some extra money."

Smith said with the new administration, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people will be hired in South Mississippi or in the other states because the bureau isn’t sure how much money will be allocated.

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